I intended to be a fiction writer, not a truth teller. I never imagined anything like this would happen with a book about my real life. Yes, I know I wrote the book, but I only imagined my kids and maybe a few friends would ever flip through it.
But it’s also incredible to own my history all the way through. I’ll never have to worry again, “But would they really like me if they knew the truth?” Because there it is in black and white with a color photo insert. The good and the bad of me. Take it or leave it.
My story began where I grew up in rural Wisconsin. That’s where I developed a deep love of family stories, climbing trees, and cheese. I also spent a lot of time building things. Back then I was small so I made very small things, like scarves for my stuffed seal and sleeping bags for caterpillars—true story.
After I grew up and had four kids of my own, I should have built big things, but I was in several situations that made me feel smaller than ever, like domestic violence and being stalked by a man with a mental illness, so my goals and my future stayed small too.
Long story short, we needed a house so we built one.
Not just any house. We built a 3500 square foot house with five bedrooms, a three car garage, a huge shop, and a two-story treehouse.
While our toes nearly froze off as we mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow, our back muscles ached from hauling two-by-fours, and we sweated and itched our way through fiberglass insulation—we also rebuilt our broken family.